A 23 year old George woman had to be moved to a safe house after congregants of the controversial Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church were harassing her for opening a rape case against their pastor.
The suspect, Goodwins Mwalughali is a pastor at self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s church in Thembalethu.
Mwalughali remained in custody yesterday after he made a brief appearance in the George Magistrate’s Court, the case was postponed to January 13 for a bail application.
The Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church was set ablaze a few hours before Mwalughali’s court appearance.
ECG’s national office has announced an immediate suspension of the accused and said:
“The suspension is in relation to the investigation and subsequent arrest on rape charges against the pastor.
“ECG South Africa has a zero tolerance policy against Gender-Based Violence and, as a church, we have systems in place to ensure that women and children are protected and safeguarded.
“In this vein, we are following this case with strong interest to ensure justice at the end of the day.”
Police spokesperson Christopher Spies confirmed that they arrested Mwalughali on a charge of rape on January 3 and the circumstances leading to the rape where still under investigation.
The pastor allegedly invited the young woman to church for a prayer session and after asking questions about her love life he forced himself on her on the couch they were sitting on.
The next day the young woman posted a picture of herself in a hospital bed on social media captioned:
“Pastors who take advantage of their congregants and rape young women in church!
“Do you think they should be treated differently from other rapists because they are pastors? He took a piece of me. He raped me at church.”
When she opened her case, congregants threatened to attack her in an attempt to intimidate her into withdrawing her case.
Mwalughali denies the rape, claiming that the sex was consensual.
More: Cape Times